In the age of COVID-19, only one thing is truly consistent: We are all trying to operate in a new normal. For some, that new normal may consist of work, parenting, teaching, and living all from the “comfort” of your own home.
Here are a few key tips to help you find work/family balance amid all the chaos:
Establish a New Normal: Keep in mind that your new normal could change at any minute, and give your family the realistic flexibility it needs to succeed.
Establish a routine and schedule to keep everyone on track. Consider your expectations: work, school, parenting, caregiving, taking care of pets, etc. Are there patterns that emerge from these expectations? Can you construct a daily routine around these patterns?
Give yourself a general timeline for your day. Let it offer a structure but also be realistic. Include time for self-care, breaks, time to get up and move, make food, etc. Build these important features of everyday life into your routine, and be flexible. A routine can be useful to not only you but also set expectations for your kids and your family, as well.
Adjust and Be Realistic with Your Capacity: You may want to be the best employer, mother, father, partner, cat owner, teacher, friend… Accept that DOING YOUR BEST is still doing. No one is expected to be on top of their game during a pandemic, especially with all the new challenges that come with this “new normal.”
Communicate! Let your employer know what challenges you are facing. If you need to adjust hours so you can help your kids with their school work, entertain a toddler, or take care of an elderly parent, ask if a more flexible schedule would work during this time. Talk with your children’s teachers; let them know if you are balancing working full time and encouraging your child to do school work all at once.
Talk to your partner or support system about what you need during this time. Can you and your spouse alternate times to be fully present at work and times to be with the kids? Can your mother-in-law do a FaceTime activity with your son while you have an important weekly meeting? Don’t be afraid to honestly express your needs.
If you are trying to balance work and homeschooling, give yourself a break. Think outside the box – interactive games, puzzles, exploring nature, reading a book to a family member over Zoom, art projects, and cooking can all count toward learning. Create a schedule for your kids, but, at the same time, don’t expect them to focus on school work for 6 hours a day. Give them and yourself the capacity to learn, grow, and find a sense of peace amid all the unpredictability.
Give Yourself Grace: Some days will be harder than others. Some days you will be the best mom, CEO, math teacher, and dog runner the world has ever seen, but on others you might barely make it through the day. That is OKAY.
You are a human, trying to juggle life through a pandemic. Give yourself grace to laugh, to cry, to need a minute, to ask for help, to not be perfect, to take too long, to have to try again, to be a human. It’s okay. Even on a bad day, “your best” is good enough. J
This information was compiled from two WELCOA Wellness Council of America articles. For more helpful resources and information on finding a work/family balance among other needs in the age of COVID-19, check out the WELCOA Blog.